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Pecan Pineapple Carrot Cake

Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

My favorite version of carrot cake featuring a moist spice cake base with sweet golden pineapple and crunchy pecans. I love to make an Italian buttercream frosting for this cake instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 -16 servings
Author Barry C. Parsons


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (see note) (not finely grated)
  • 1 cup fresh golden pineapple diced small (see note) Use canned pineapple tidbits only if fresh is unavailable, roughly chopped and then pressed through a sieve to remove the excess liquid.
  • 1/2 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 6 egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups softened unsalted butter


  1. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla and oil until light and fluffy.
  4. Stir in the grated carrots, pineapple and nuts.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients by hand.
  6. Stir only until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to
  2. boil over medium heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on
  3. a candy thermometer.
  4. Meanwhile beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract together to stiff peaks with the whisk attachment on your mixer..
  5. Slowly pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream, hitting the side of the bowl and
  6. not the beaters.
  7. Continue beating the frosting for 10-15 minutes until the
  8. meringue is completely cool.
  9. When completely cool, slowly begin to add a few tablespoons of the butter at a time, beating constantly.
  10. Beat until smooth after each addition. When properly done, the texture of this frosting should resemble whipped cream. If storing in the fridge, you will want to bring the cake out to come up to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

Be sure not to overmeasure the amount of pineapple and grated carrot in this recipe or your cake could get soggy and/or crumbly. I made the mistake once of adding more pineapple and it ruined the cake. 

Also, use the large side of the grater, and only lightly pack the grated carrot to fill 1 1/2 cups. Finely grated carrot will also introduce too much moisture into the cake.